Beware of this buzzword—it almost never means what you think.

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There’s a big difference between “natural” and “organic.”

In America, it’s illegal to make false or misleading claims about your products. But if you hide your misleading claims behind the word “natural,” you’re in the clear. If that sounds unfair, keep reading.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates the claims food producers can make about their products. For example, it is illegal to call something a “good source of protein” unless that product actually contains significant protein—the word “good” is regulated, and anyone who makes a false claim is subject to hefty fines.

But there are no such limitations on the use of the word “natural,” and non-organic food companies are taking advantage of the confusion. They know that people assume that “natural” products are good for them, when in fact they could contain GMOs and artificial ingredients.

The word “organic,” on the other hand, is strictly regulated thanks in part to our organic farmers. “Organic” actually means what the “natural” people want you to think “natural” means. Accept no substitutes.

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